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Just minutes from downtown Atlanta in historic Grant Park, the exciting Zoo Atlanta features the Southeast's most impressive collection of wildlife from around the globe. Legend says that the zoo got its start when the owners of a traveling animal show went bankrupt and suddenly fled town. Today, popular exhibits include daily elephant demonstrations, giraffe feedings, and the acquired Chinese pandas. Various spots within the zoo make for wonderful locations to host private celebrations.
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is one of the largest spectacles of plant life in the Southeast. Sprawling over 15 acres (six hectares), this natural oasis was established in 1976 and is located within stumbling distance of the famous Piedmont Park. It is home to the Fuqua Conservatory and Japanese gardens, both rich in globe-spanning flora. Follow a walking trail, great for couples, and admire exotic rose plantations and carnivorous specimens. In addition, guided tours and seasonal shows guarantee an entertaining botany lesson.
Just east of Atlanta, Stone Mountain Park is a 3200-acre (1300-hectare) park centers on the world's largest exposed granite mountain. Skylift gondolas whisk visitors 825 feet (251 meters) to the top, where commanding views of the Georgia countryside await them. The north face's bas-relief memorial to Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson is one of the world's largest. An antebellum plantation, an antique auto museum and a petting zoo are all located within the park. Playing host to myriad activities such as camping, dining, and lodging, this park bears wooden mountain slopes bearing recherche Georgia oak, natural pools as well as delightful, verdant foliage. During the summer, there are evening laser light shows on the mountain, whereas the Great Barn and Geyser Towers are other attractions in the park. Some of the major trails coursing through the park include the Cherokee Trail, Walk Up Trail, Nature Garden Trail, and Songbird Habitat Trail.
Encompassing 2550 acres (1031.94 hectares) of pristine forested swathes, the Davidson-Arabia Nature Preserve is framed by the marvelous Arabia Mountain, which largely looms over the Arabia Lake Reservoir. This preserve is fringed by a tapestry of dramatic rock outcroppings and incredible, rolling hills. The park's mountaintop terrain bears a fragile ecosystem, including several protected species of fascinating flora. Although the landscape of the park is known to be barren, deep in its recesses lies a wealth of Recherche, which brave the ruthless weather of the mountain, and bloom in all their glory. Seemingly metamorphosing into different landscapes as per seasons, this mountain preserves a tracery of trails wind past the park's lakes, through dense forests and up to the mountain's soaring pinnacle. Traces of ruinous quarry structures of a bygone industry validate the fact that the park is as much steeped in history as it is in nature.